Sometimes my prejudices shock me. After all I was a product of the ‘60’s, peace, free love, and Rock ‘N’ Roll. Tie died shirts, bell bottom pants, and long hair. Everything and everyone was cool. Just be yourself. The Jesus movement just wove itself right into all that because, well…Jesus looked like the first hippie after all and didn’t he say, “All we are saying, is give peace a chance?” (See John Lennon actually).
But there we were the other day - in a hood. As one person told me on the light rail, “There are hoods and then there are neighborhoods. This, my man, is THE hood.” Got it. The “Hood” looked rather hopeless and run down to me. The houses were in shambles, the fences were falling over, and there were bars on the windows. People walked with a sense of being lost (notice my judgment) and when I listened to them talk I felt their hopelessness (notice my projection.)
As we walked up to the coffee shop I was struck by this sign:
I realized that this sign represented how I viewed some of the folks in the Hood. I had put them in a box of permanent hopelessness. Pretty bad move on my part. I didn’t know that I was really like this.
In the Hood or any neighborhood really there are bright lights all around and it didn’t take but several steps for me to literally walk into this light. It’s called the Purple Door and it is a coffee shop, job training place of caring, great coffees and teas, genuine welcome and an all around place to hang out. The thing is, the Purple Door has really cool staff and an awesome manager…but many of the staff are FROM the Hood! This isn’t some magic kingdom from outside the Hood but there are people from the Hood where patience, hard work, prayer, and hospitality merge and transformation happens a little bit here and a little bit there and before you know it growth takes place, grace blooms and the “permanently closed” sign just does NOT apply.
In Celtic Christian spirituality there are NO accidents. Coincidences are only when God wants to remain anonymous. Synchronicity is real; God is at work in the common, ordinary, routine interactions between people doing their work.
God forgive me and transform me from being so closed minded. We need to remember the words of Yogi Berra,
“It aint over 'til it’s over.”
I recommend the Purple Door…growth happens here, especially for customers. See ya there. If you mention the blog…I’m buyin’.
Father Scott Jenkins is a Founding Director of the Celtic Way. Read more about him Here.